Pundit reveals Newcastle man Eddie Howe must replace to take Magpies from ‘top four material’ to title challengers

Sean Longstaff and Matt Targett of Newcastle

A former striker has told Eddie Howe to bring in a high-quality midfield replacement for Sean Longstaff to help Newcastle go after the Premier League title.

Newcastle have won half of their 14 Premier League matches so far, sending them into third spot. They are unbeaten in nine league outings and have won all of their last four games.

England’s ‘Big Six’ will have been worried about Newcastle becoming a threat as soon as they were taken over by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund. And that is exactly what has happened, with Howe’s men looking good for European qualification. They might fall out out of the top four, but there is a strong chance they will make the Europa League or Europa Conference League spots.

A big reason for Newcastle’s success is the midfield trio of Bruno Guimaraes, Joelinton and Joe Willock. They look dominant every time they play together, while they also get among the goals too.

In recent matches, Howe has used Joelinton further up the pitch in an attacking role. This has seen Longstaff come into midfield and play a full 90 minutes regularly.

It is good to see the 25-year-old get a chance to impress in the new era after he came through the club’s academy setup.

However, pundit Gabby Agbonlahor reckons Newcastle could probably do with bringing in a better midfielder to help them reach the next level. This could see the Magpies go from ‘top four material’ to genuine title challengers.

“I just feel that if Newcastle can sign a couple of players, maybe a central midfielder to go along with Guimaraes, someone else in there with him,” Agbonlahor said during an interview with Football Insider.

Newcastle ‘can upgrade’ on player, says Agbonlahor

“At the moment, they play Longstaff and he’s done OK but they can upgrade him.

“They are not far off it already. Maybe a number 10 if they are being greedy.

“You’ve got [Allan] Saint-Maximin who has been fit for two games and he can’t get a start, you’ve got [Alexander] Isak to come back and challenge Callum Wilson, [Miguel] Almiron is in the form of his life and Willock is doing well.

“Willock starts ahead of Saint-Maximin in the next game. They are doing so well that he won’t just bring Saint-Maximin back in.

“Newcastle have got players fighting for places and their defence is super strong.

“They are top four material at the moment. They are playing with so much confidence.

“With the players that are there now, the owners are so wealthy, Willock, Wilson and all these players will be thinking ‘I could nick another contract here and get good money’.

“There’s no reason why they can’t finish in the top four. Apart from Arsenal and Man City, everyone else is winning and losing games and can’t find their form.

“They’ve beaten Spurs who you would say are their rivals for the top four.

“Anything can happen. If I’m Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool or Man United, I’m worried about Newcastle.”

Ironically, the top-class replacement for Longstaff could already be on Tyneside. Jonjo Shelvey underwent hamstring surgery earlier this year which has kept him out for the first few months of the season.

The former Liverpool man is now back though and gunning to get into in the side. Perhaps he will replace Longstaff and take Newcastle to that next level which Agbonlahor is asking for.

Meanwhile, Newcastle have decided to bid for a player viewed as the next Bruno Guimaraes, according to reports.